SMIF to host 5th Annual Bridge Entrepreneurial Conference at the Hormel Historic Home

Published 7:39 am Saturday, October 12, 2019

For area business leaders, entrepreneurs and organizations who are looking to build their leadership potential and improve their workplace culture, an upcoming conference will be a must-see.

The Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) will be hosting the fifth annual Bridge Entrepreneurial Conference 7:45 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 15, at the Hormel Historic Home. Heavy appetizers will be served and attendees can take a self-guided tour of the Hormel Historic Home. This year’s theme focuses on “Achieving Greatness.”

More than 80 business leaders from across SMIF’s 20-county region attend the conference, and about 10 student business teams from state colleges and universities will pitch their ideas for a chance to win seed money.

Around 149 people are expected to be in attendance and a dozen Austin High School students will be competing for cash prizes as well. Since the start of the conference, SMIF’s sponsorship list has grown, said Pam Bishop, vice president of economic development.

There will also be interactive sessions with Cindy Ebert, president and co-founder of The Growth Collaborative, and John Fletcher, growth catalyst for The Growth Collaborative. The two will be discussing financials and how to understand different options to help overcome barriers to financial success.

An interactive expert panel will address overcoming barriers to financial success, utilizing case studies and participant questions and financing options for real-life situations. Panelists consist of Marcia Haley, SBA Lending Director of SMIF; Diane Lewis, lending officer for SMIF; Patrick Thiry, chief commercial relationship manager of United Bank Group.

Another section of the session includes succession business planning, which explores evaluating business needs in order to create a lasting legacy. Participants will have a chance to utilize a Legacy Impact Evaluation to begin the steps to create a personalized succession plan.

“We hope to provide knowledge, networks and inspiration to those who attend this year’s event,” Bishop said. “Attendees can expect to walk away with working tools to build their business, opportunities to learn from other business owners, make connections with new resources and be re-energized to start or grow their company.”